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What is the true normal AFP level? The lab ref says <8 ng/ml, but mayo clinic says non-pregnant level 0.2 ng/ml (& peak @32wks to 250 ng/ml).

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Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology

In brief: A subtle key concept

You ask an excellent question.
There is no "true normal" alpha-fetoprotein level any more than there is a simple number for "too fat" or "too tall." a reference range is not a "healthy range"; it is merely a range in which most but not all healthy individuals fall. The key is "decision levels" -- what would I do if my AFP was 1.2 ng/ml? I'll bet nothing, unless it was as a recurrent marker.

In brief: A subtle key concept

You ask an excellent question.
There is no "true normal" alpha-fetoprotein level any more than there is a simple number for "too fat" or "too tall." a reference range is not a "healthy range"; it is merely a range in which most but not all healthy individuals fall. The key is "decision levels" -- what would I do if my AFP was 1.2 ng/ml? I'll bet nothing, unless it was as a recurrent marker.
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